Aroldis Chapman had everyone worried last week when his triple-digit fastball dripped all the way into the low-90s, leading even teammates to publicly question his health.
However, after being shut down for four days by the Reds he returned to the mound last night looking like his usual overpowering self against the Pirates, albeit in a mop-up role.
Chapman tossed a scoreless ninth inning in a 9-3 loss and MLB.com’s pitch-fx system tracked his average fastball at 100.3 miles per hour.
Not quite the 104-106 mph range that created so many headlines last season, but he topped out at 102.6 mph and clearly the time off did Chapman’s velocity some good. In fact, the one slider Chapman threw last night registered at 91.5 mph, which isn’t far off from where his fastball was at last week.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.